Adelaide trainer Paul Beshara has opted for a drop in class at Sandown on Wednesday for multiple Group placegetter Happy Trails after he was balloted out of a race at Caulfield last weekend.
The Good Journey four-year-old will run in the Betfair Hcp (1300m) after he failed to make the field for Saturday’s 1400m Open Handicap won by Utah Saints.
“I’m running him tomorrow as I need to get his rating up,” Beshara, who has a harness racing background and prepares a small team of eight gallopers at Morphettville, said.
“He has a rating of 86 and we need a win if he is going to run in any of the big races over the spring.”
Happy Trails ran an encouraging eighth, beaten just over 1-1/2 lengths, to Lone Rock in the Group Three Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) when resuming at Flemington on September 3.
“He needed to win the Bobbie Lewis and I’m convinced he would have won it if he had drawn out and dropped back and then come home,” Beshara said.
“He did an incredible job but because he didn’t win, a race like the Manikato is out for him now.”
Damien Oliver, who has ridden Happy Trails three times for two seconds and a fourth in Group company, will ride the gelding on Wednesday.
“Damien seems to think if we win tomorrow and get his rating up we should go for the Toorak,” Beshara said.
The Group One Toorak Hcp (1600m) is at Caulfield on October 8.
An $11,000 buy at the Adelaide Millions Yearling Sales, Happy Trails has won just one race from 12 starts, an 1100m Morphettville two-year-old at his second start in June last year.
“He missed the start by four lengths and won by two that day,” Beshara recalled.
He has been placed on six other occasions including a second to That’s Not It in the Group Three Red Anchor Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate day last spring.
Happy Trails was also runner-up to Shrapnel in the Group Two Yallambee Classic (1200m) at Morphettville in March.
Happy Trail had two outings in Sydney in April, running fourth to Needs Further in the Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) and second to Shootoff in the Frank Packer Plate (2000m), both at Group Three level at Randwick.
“He relaxes well and has a good sprint at the end of his races,” Beshara said.
Happy Trails drew the outside barrier in the field of 15 plus four emergencies but Prince Obama and American Crew have already been scratched.
Happy Trails is at $5 with TAB Sportsbet which has the Mick Price-trained Spirited Eagle as $3.30 favourite ahead of Typeface ($4.40) and third emergency Plain Lucky ($4.80).